#Rank Statement

by powhida on September 27, 2010

#rank statement

Art is (still) a luxury commodity for the wealthy that limits access to ownership, participation and understanding for the majority of society based on class, education, gender, and geography.

The Miami art fairs make literal the hierarchies within the contemporary art world and its detachment from broader society. The Miami fair events sort everyone – visitors, locals, and participants – into a highly stratified caste system based on which fair (if any) we are associated with; which color pass (if any) we are wearing; which parties we plan to attend; which day we arrive in Miami; if we are paying for our own plane ticket and place to stay; which neighborhood or hotel we are staying in; if and where we are showing or buying artwork; if we drive, get driven, or take the shuttle bus; and countless other ranking mechanisms.

While we appreciate the bluntness of art fair culture (and especially appreciate the fact that we are sometimes able to sell work there), we can’t help but feel queasy with our complicity in this disgusting scheme, all of which takes place within the city of Miami, whose own class, race, and geographical hierarchies are abundantly obvious and pretty much entirely ignored.

So, we aim to explore what is the matter with the art fair and the art market? How might it be improved, tweaked, or overthrown?

Along this exploratory path, we have unearthed some paradoxes that bear consideration:

We think art should be a gift but we don’t want to work for free.

We want art to be accessible to everyone, but when it actually is (can
someone say “Work of Art”?) we want to throw up.

We want people to pay attention to our work but we don’t like being the
center of attention.

We want our work to be available to everyone but we can’t afford to sell
it for cheap.

We want to buy art too, but we can’t afford most of it at the art fairs.